FIDA Nigeria Calls for Better Support in Gender-Based Violence Cases
The latest spate of gender-based violence which increases exponentially day by day, is alarming and quite frankly disturbing. It underscores the critical need to act swiftly to stem the ugly tide, while better supporting victims of abuse to survive.
A cursory glance at the incidences of GBV in Nigeria and around the world, would show that this scourge is a hideous epidemic that needs to be annihilated.
Sadly, despite the provisions of the law, particularly the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) that criminalizes acts of violence which include physical, sexual, verbal, socio-economic, psychological violence and the likes, this scourge encouraged by factors such as underreporting, impunity of perpetrators, cultural/religious beliefs, family/cultural influence, gender inequality, survivor stigmatization/blame, perpetrator threats, denial/secrecy/culture of silence, societal norms, harmful gender norms, etc, continues unabated.
The recent case of the late Mrs. Osinachi Nwachukwu readily comes to mind. When the story broke online and on most social media platforms of her untimely death allegedly at the hands of her husband, FIDA with her core objective of protecting, promoting and preserving the rights of women and children, took active steps as regards this matter, calling for full and proper immediate investigations. We are glad that the relevant arm of law has swung into action with the alleged perpetrator currently in police custody for culpable homicide. We condole with the family over this great loss as we are poised to ensure that no stone remains unturned in the fight for justice for the late Osinachi.
GBV is one of the most prevalent human rights violations that knows no social, economic or national boundaries; particularly that targeted at women which has been recognized all over the world as a public health problem with far reaching consequences for the physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health of women, also hindering women and girls from contributing to national development.
FIDA has continually advocated, provided awareness, and propagated the provision of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act; the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), alongside other pieces of legislation on this issue. We seek to familiarize the populace with the position of the law as regards violence, while encouraging adequate reporting of the same so that perpetrators of these acts can be prosecuted and justice gotten for the survivors of violence.
Every gender-based violence case is a potential murder case, and as such early reporting is vital and critical. The public is encouraged to report any, and all cases of violence; and better support the victims of abuse! Fida remains un-shakingly resolute in handling these cases for free (pro-bono), at zero cost to the complainant, as we abhor all forms of violence in whatever form it manifests itself, and believe that gender-based violence can, and must be eradicated, with adequate prosecution of perpetrators, and stiffer sentences issued.
Ending gender-based violence is a task for all, while reporting perpetrators of violence is the first step towards ensuring that survivors are rescued before they can be maimed or killed. FIDA Nigeria is committed to the cause!
Every state in Nigeria needs to domesticate the VAPP Act which prohibits violent practices and abuses, and is the first legislation that recognizes that men can also be victims of sexual violence as GBV is not gender specific. GBV is preventable and we must shun the culture of “settling” these acts of violence, out of court, as they are criminal acts with prescribed punishments attached to them.
All hands must be on deck to actively condemn and seek to end this scourge
Enough is enough!
Amina Suzanah Agbaje,
Country Vice President/CVP